HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Houston ISD is proposing improvements to its transportation system as it winds down a school year plagued with busing problems. Many students have waited for hours for their buses to arrive, causing them to be late for class.
Houston ISD has placed an item on its Board of Education agenda next week, aimed at improving the flaws that have haunted some parents and students on school bus routes throughout the city. They are proposing an app called Zonar.
“Zonar will improve routing, compliance, accountability, as well as the ability to track the buses along the route, so parents for example will have a GPS tracker,” said Tracy Clemons, spokesman for Houston ISD. “They’ll be able to track the bus from a smart phone or any device.”
The plans for improvements to the HISD transportation system, are welcome news for parents whose students have had a year of long waits at their bus stop.
“I do think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Susan Green, mother of an HISD middle schooler. “This year has really been a disaster. The worst that my son went through is one time I had an early morning meeting, and I didn’t realize that he had never been picked up, and it was 10 o’clock by that point.”
Susan Green has led a group of parents in complaining to the school district about the late and missing buses. On Wednesday, she and other parents landed a meeting with the HISD Transportation COO and General Manager.
“Basically they told us that they’d been listening,” said Green. “They understand now that there are problems with transportation, and they’re trying to come up with solutions that might actually work.”
George Salcedo is another parent whose middle schooler continues to spend many hours waiting for his bus, causing him to arrive late to classes.
“This week every day it’s been late, but at least now they’re giving us phone calls to know that they’re running late,” said Salcedo.
In addition to the proposed technology, the school district has three job fairs planned in the coming weeks to help hire back bus drivers that have left the transportation department understaffed.
“It’s been a perfect storm,” said Clemons. “We knew heading into this school year that we were short drivers, then Harvey happened, and there were more drivers who just didn’t come back from Harvey. Right now we are working to pull some of those drivers back.”
The Zonar App aimed is pending approval from the Board of Education. They’ll vote on it next Thursday. If passed, HISD says the app would go into effect this fall.
HISD's job fairs will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the following dates:
Scarborough High School
4141 Costa Rica Rd.
Houston, TX 77092
Hexsar T. Holliday Food Services Support Center
Westbury High School
11911 Chimney Rock Rd.
Houston, TX 77035
Gregg Elementary School
6701 Roxbury Rd.
Houston, TX 77087